Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doin It Old School

Last week I was in a bit of a slump, feeling overwhelmed with tasks and making devious plans to organise live in help. Leaning towers of paper were making their descent to the floor, spiders had started to creep into corners and were even spinning webs worthy of photographing. I felt like I had been cleaning continuously since my homecoming from the big trip, but nothing seemed to be changing. I was getting grumpier by the minute until I took a step back and looked at the problem logically. What was the simplest and most effective thing I could change in this equation? My attitude. Often easier said than done, and without the aid of pharmaceuticals, I turned to my other cure all source. The wonderful world of bloggers.

I've been reading some great new blogs recently that have really re focused my attentions towards all the things I've been wanting to achieve at home. For some reason all this talk of economic down turn has me thinking, not of the Great Depression, but more of WW2 home front sentiments. (Perhaps due to anecdotes from that time being relayed to me from various relatives in my formative years.) And so I have sought out inspirations from this era that I can apply to help me solve my domestic predicament.

Meet Marzipan of My 50's Year. A freelance writer and mother who has challenged herself to live as a 1950's housewife for 365 days. Unlike in those T.V specials, this is only Marzipan and not her family taking part in this challenge, and there is no special house or era appropriate props to go with it. As a self professed feminist, Marzipan has an interesting perspective on her challenges and I am hooked on her daily journal.

After reading about her daily cleaning regime, my bi-weekly dust seemed to pale into insignificance, and somehow that spurred me on. I felt the need to not only clean, tidy and purge, but to pretty things up and finish my multitude of projects. So, achieved to the strains of Doris Day, here's what I have been up to this week:

  • Finishing my bedroom decorating project - Wallpapering, hanging curtains, hanging pictures, re-upholstering chairs and cleaning out the cupboards for charity.
  • Mending: This pile is so large that my children outgrow things before they are fixed, but in the spirit of "Make do and Mend", I have even been altering some of these garments to do a second round.
  • Sewing: I have been coveting a great pair of ultra high waisted 1940's style pants for a while. So I dug into the pile of fabric in storage, nutted out a pattern and knocked up a great pair this afternoon. (Pictures will be forthcoming)
  • Cooking: Rather than deciding on the dinner menu about 15 minutes before I am due to serve it, I've actually been trying to plan a menu this week. I imagine my 1940's counterpart would be horrified at the lack of forethought that goes into most of my meals, and the subsequent cost and wastage that come from these lackadaisical methods. I've also been introducing three meat free nights a week to add to the challenge.

All this is only the tip of the iceberg, but instead of feeling discouraged, I'm feeling rather self satisfied. Perhaps if I can get on top of just one new thing a week, I may yet reach my organised, highly decorative and serene utopia. I'm even considering tossing the PDA in favour of that old fashioned invention - The Paper Diary - so I can see weeks of planning at a time and joyfully mark things off with a bright pink tick! Now with all that done, where's my G&T?


Make Do Style said...

Indeed a G&T is the requiste accompaniment to the spirit of dunkirk!

Skye said...

The menu plan is such a good thing - we started doing them a few years ago, and it makes such a difference to the day to day household running (not to mention the money saved).

PS. You're most recent outfit pics are beautiful, I love your softer hairstyle - so pretty!

Sarah said...

As i read this i am about to embark on a day of cleaning and baking:)

Also Filofax all the way, I love my paper diary LOVE IT :)

Cant wait to see your trousers.

~TessaScoffs said...

if we all worked and dressed and cooked like WW2 wives we'd be pin thin but no time for blogging!

violetville said...

Thanks for turning me on to Marzipan ~ what a creative idea!! and so inspiring!

Too Many Shoes said...

You go girl!

Can't wait to see the pants (I too have been coverting a pair, but alas I am not a talented seamstress like yourself).

And yes with the menu planning - all the way! You'll find that you not only save money and cut down spoilt food, but you'll save time by doing one shop a week. I have been doing this for about 2 years now and it really takes a lot of stress out of cooking (which I love to do anyway).

ET said...

Sigh, I have been feeling the same way as you! Things just piling up everywhere - G&T or martini please! I liked that "My 50s Year" link, how interesting. Just curious, what else do you read to soothe the addled soul?

kesha said...

When people hear the word nanny, they often think of the women in victorian novels, the governesses and nannies who ruled the nursery. Sometimes they were severe sometimes soft and understanding. What would jo frost think of common discipline methods in victorian times.
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kesha said...

Bienvenidos a bordo de una compañía aérea joven pero con una gran experiencia acumulada en otras compañías aéreas. Desde que despegamos el 15 de Mayo de 2002, hemos ido incrementando nuestro equipo humano, nuestros servicios e incluso nuestra flota.

Anonymous said...

How is this new plan going for you my dear? :)